The rumor mill has almost assured Apple fans that the iPhone 8 will be the most innovative iPhone with a radical new design and exciting new features. The device is said to feature a 3D sensing module to support facial recognition and augmented reality features. However, an analyst says Apple might drop the feature from the iPhone 8 because of implementation issues.

Apple iPhone 8 Concept
Image Source: Moe Slah / Concepts iPhone / YouTube video (screenshot)

3D sensor to come with iPhone 8S, not iPhone 8

Previous reports claimed the implementation of novel features such as 3D sensor and in-display fingerprint sensor could delay the iPhone 8 launch. The components supporting these features are said to be ready for mass production in September at the earliest, which could push back the phone’s release to October or November. Needham & Co analyst Rajvindra Gill said in a research report (via BGR) that Apple may not introduce the 3D sensing module until the 2018 iPhone 8S.

Gill told investors that the iPhone 8 would be announced on time alongside the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus in September, but shipments would start only in October or November. The analyst added that Apple might not even be the first company to introduce 3D sensors on smartphones. The module would be incorporated in the iPhone 8S, which should arrive in late 2018. In contrast, Chinese Android vendors such as Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo could add the technology to their flagship phones as early as the first half of 2018.

Needham & Co’s report is based on comments from James Wong, the chief operating officer of Truly Holdings. Wong told Rajvindra Gill that Apple would release the 10th anniversary iPhone without the 3D sensor. If true, it would be a major setback for Apple. Tim Cook has been talking about augmented reality (AR) applications on future iOS devices. AR and facial recognition were said to be among the biggest highlights of the iPhone 8. It is unclear how Apple would support these features without the 3D sensing module.

Apple has over a thousand engineers working on augmented reality software and hardware in Israel. UBS Securities analyst Steven Milunovich recently said Apple was planning to release an AR development kit to let third-party developers create AR content. Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities believes Apple is at least 3-5 years ahead of rivals in augmented reality.

Previously, there were reports that technical difficulties related to the lamination of OLED screens could force Apple to delay the iPhone 8 launch.

Will the 10th anniversary iPhone have dual SIM slots?

Meanwhile, BGR says Apple might finally offer dual SIM support with the iPhone 8. Citing multiple patents filed by Apple, the publication reports that Apple may replace the regular SIM with the eSIM that would help it improve water-resistance and save internal space. One of the patents describes how the SIM setup could be simplified to support multi-SIM functionality.

It is unclear whether Apple would use any of these patents to enable multi-SIM functionality on the iPhone 8. If it does, dual-SIM would be an incentive to attract consumers who need access to two different phone numbers, but don’t want to carry multiple smartphones. The Cupertino company has so far resisted the idea of dual-SIM smartphones.

iPhone 8 affecting the Galaxy S8 pre-orders

The iPhone 8 is widely expected to feature a curved OLED display supplied by Samsung Display, though the curves will be there only for aesthetic appeal. They will not offer any major new functions. Earlier this month, reports suggested that Apple had placed orders for 70 million OLED screens with Samsung Display. Samsung is reportedly investing $9 billion this year to ramp up its OLED production capacity. The other two smartphones, the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, would stick to the years old LCD panel.

Though the iPhone 8 would have the same OLED screen as Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White said in a research note that suppliers in Asia were more excited about the next-gen iPhone than the Galaxy S8. The 10th anniversary iPhone is expected to get rid of the physical home button, replacing them with virtual ones.

The iPhone 8 release may still be several months away, but it is already affecting the sales of its rivals including the Galaxy S8. TrendForce said in its latest report on Tuesday that the hype around the upcoming iPhone is negatively affecting the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus pre-orders. However, Samsung claims the Galaxy S8 pre-orders have already surpassed the last year’s Galaxy S7 pre-orders.

iPhone 8 display to have True Tone technology

The upcoming iPhone is also expected to feature a True Tone display similar to the one on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Citing supply chain sources, Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz claims Austrian semiconductor firm AMS will be supplying the “full spectral sensing” ambient light sensor for the iPhone 8 True Tone technology. The True Tone display can adjust its color and intensity to adapt to the surrounding environment.

Past reports claimed the iPhone 8 would cost upward of $1,000 due to the new features. However, UBS Securities analyst Steven Milunovich believes only the 256GB iPhone 8 would cost between $950 and $1000. All other storage variants will be priced below $950.